Navratri or the holy nights where Goddess Durga is worshipped in all her 9 avatars, is a festival that is celebrated with much fervour in the family that I am married into. These 9 days and nights are considered to be highly auspicious. An eternal flame is lit on day 1 which is only allowed to subdue after the 9 days have passed. Aartis or prayers are sung with much enthusiasm and by gathering as many members as possible. The prayer that is sung speaks of the virtues of the Goddess in her 9 avatars and how she won over evil to bring peace and content to her followers. It’s been 8 years that I have been married into this family, but it is only after having babyT and thus becoming a mother myself did I start finding new meaning to the words and lines that make up this prayer.
I realised that I am the creator (not just of new life, but also of destinies, of the mind & heart of my baby), protector (nourisher, enricher), destroyer (of all naysayers & evil eye casters) and all that stood for the Goddess Durga. My interest piqued and I read more about the 9 avatars and found a fondness for Ma Kushmanda – a little known but most crucial avatar of the Goddess in the whole scheme of things.
There is little prevalent knowledge about Ma Kushmanda. The most popular Goddesses are, of course, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Parvati, Mahalakshmi, Sita et al. But all these Godesses would not have come into being if it were not for Ma Kushmanda in the first place. This was a fact which astounded me, yet another fruit of creation enjoyed without due credit to the mother of them all.
Ma Kushmanda is supposed to have created the world and all its beings with her divine smile. Her name itself gives it away – “Ku” means a little, “Ushma” means warmth or energy and “Anda” means cosmic egg.
When the universe was non-existent and darkness prevailed everywhere, Maa Kushmanda produced the Cosmic egg with her smile, bringing light to the universe. Kushmanda has the power and strength to live in the core of Sun. Her luminosity gives the Sun its brightness. She is said to give directions to the Sun God, (Source: wikipedia)
What I found most interesting about Ma Kushmanda was this very fact – that she lives in the sun. Much of motherhood is like that isn’t it? Early days of motherhood were full of anxiety for me as I tried to make sense of this role I had donned almost overnight. And with this came contrasting opinions, judgements, people making you feel you were not doing enough, people making you feel you were doing too much. Nothing less than living under a constant centre of stress and pain. But motherhood makes you prod along, push back all the negativity and emerge as the stronger one to do the best for your child. Whether you choose to breastfeed or formula, use cloth diapers or disposable, play rhymes on the mobile or sing them yourself, every mother does her best for her baby.
I don’t know what it is about motherhood, but it makes you feel like a hero. I remember I came out of the stupor and excited delirium of childbirth and almost stated to the world, “That’s it? That was easy. Let’s have more kids.” I had a C-section of course and in one of the most service-oriented hospitals in Mumbai. So my overall birthing experience felt nothing short of 5 Star. The power of creation is something apart and it leaves you more mature, wise and humble.
And then the number of challenges I have faced up to and emerged over the two years of mothering has made me believe that I can do anything if I put my mind to it and want to succeed. I learnt so many new skills, not just pertaining to mother and baby, but take blogging for example. Blogging is so much more than just buying a domain and writing down your thoughts. It involves technical skills, marketing skills. Skills I certainly didnt possess, but that were learnt along the way.
This is the final blog post for our blog train on the 9 days of womanhood. I thank Harneet Khurana for setting the stage for me. I loved her blog Sublime Messages on the prompt for today. And don’t forget to visit PrettyMumma Says to see Surbhi Mahobia’s perspective on the Goddess she identifies with.
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